Rickey Gadson Sets New Speed Record

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

Modded Kawasaki H2 goes 229 mph in just one mile!

Rickey Gadson has been hard on the gas. The multi-time champion drag racer recently hit the small screen with a co-starring role in a new TV show, Caffeine and Octane airing on Velocity, and he’s recently ridden to the highest speed ever clocked on a supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2.

Rickey Gadson on TV

You may recall that Gadson also had accompanied me to the Oregon Airstrip Attack event in which we both attempted to break through the 200-mph barrier in a half-mile sprint on a stock Kawi H2R, but we both came up just a few mph short.

Kawasaki H2R 200 mph Review

Gadson has also launched his own brand of performance products under the RG62 banner (his initials and racing number), with the most interesting bit the new gearing for the H2’s supercharger that significantly increases boost over stock. Late last month he rode a customer’s modded H2 at the Texas Mile event in a bid for a new world record on a Ninja H2. Rickey just sent us a report from the event, so we’ll let him pick up the tale from here.

Riding Kawasaki’s Supercharged Ninja H2/H2R: Rickey Gadson Interview

Over the last 30 years, my followers have known me to be into quarter-mile drag racing only. Since the 2015 release of the most powerful production motorcycle on the planet, the Ninja H2, I’ve decided to take on a new challenge: To see what kind of speed I can reach in a mile – but not before I attack the quarter-mile so I can calculate the difference another three-quarters of a mile makes to my speed.

In early 2016 I received a Facebook message from an interested customer named John Paul Faircloth who simply said: “I only want you to build my bike and don’t care how long it takes either as long as you build me the baddest H2 in the country,” and so project Texas Mile Assault began since the owner is from Texas. After months of R&D and almost 100 dyno pulls and video documentation during every step of the build, it was finally time to test the results. The first mission was to measure the power increase over stock, which started out with a very restricted 187 horsepower at the rear wheel. The new dyno results were truly outstanding at 323 hp, a 136-hp increase over stock.

These results make this the most powerful H2 ever recorded, and with a best E.T. of 8.05 seconds, it’s surely the quickest and fastest H2 in the quarter-mile.

I have recently been successful in expanding my accomplishments in other countries. Just weeks ago we improved on our own record in India when I borrowed a privately owned Ninja H2 with an RG62 Woolich ECU flash to lift restrictions, rocketing into the 9.50 zone, which was a first in that country.

Just a couple days after returning from drag racing in India, my next road trip was to head to Victoria, Texas, to conquer the Texas Mile. Our goal was to attempt to break the 220-mph barrier on a customer’s 2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2 that I spent many months building with the hopes of making it the fastest H2 in the mile as well.

A week before the Texas Mile was an annual street racing event called the “Texas 2k” which is where some of the fastest cars and motorcycles in the country would gather to prove who had the baddest combinations in the land, with many H2 owners running RG62 performance parts on them. Watching the results on social media the week before the Texas Mile, it was really clear that the first fully built H2 by MC Cycle Works had the best H2 combination, as he promptly ran away from every other bike he raced.

With just three working days between my return from India and the Texas Mile, I had little time to prepare my customer’s H2 for the mile event. Each working day was a 12-15-hour candle-burning work day trying to install a Woolich log box, wide band, and an intercooler to reduce intake boost temps. I spent a good part of the last two days before I headed out tuning the bike on my Dynojet 250i dynamometer. The modifications made to the bike are: RG62 Performance Plus Supercharger kit; cylinder head porting; custom camshafts; Woolich Racing box; and Michelin EVO tires. All parts available at Rickey-Gadson.com

When arriving at Victoria I learned that I had to make license runs, so I used those two runs to get my tuneup perfect.

These time slips show measured speeds in the quarter-mile, half-mile and one-mile marks from my license-qualifying runs.

The data from the Woolich box confirmed what I had been feeling, that the H2’s rear wheel was spinning through the first two or three gears, but we produced a 202-mph half-mile trap speed on my first full pass and an unbelievable 224 mph in the one-mile run against a cross tailwind. On day two, I woke up at 6:30 am before the sun came up to install my stage 3 supercharger gears in anticipation of reaching closer to 230 mph. But Saturday morning’s forecast predicted a headwind which limited me to only 222 mph, even with more power that also caused more tire spin.

On Sunday morning (day 3) with more favorable conditions forecasted, hopes were high. I was anxiously staged in the 12th position run order and went live on Facebook for my first run, having faith we would be able to join the 225-mph club on the first pass of the day. And, 24 seconds after launching the H2, my ticket read 225.3 mph, but not without spinning through the first four gears!

In an effort to try to stop the excessive spinning, I tried retarding the timing in lower gears and paying more attention to my body position. Kawasaki put a lot of work into honing the aerodynamics on the supercharged Ninja, but because I can’t get completely behind the windscreen, the wind hits my helmet, my shoulders, and my hands, and it’s like applying the front brake at speeds in excess of 200 mph.

I was under the misconception that I didn’t need to install my H2R wings because my bike was using an extended Adams swingarm and the wings would not help unless the bike was short. Kawasaki’s aerospace department’s purpose for the aesthetically beautiful wings wasn’t just to create downforce on the front end, but to create aerodynamic flow around the rider – something I learned from Kawasaki engineers while in Japan.

At this point, I couldn’t decide whether the wings would create even greater wheelspin because of the increased downforce on the front end but I installed them anyway thinking that the aerodynamics would counteract the spinning and help gain a couple more mph. With one last chance and the wind switching directions, there were some concerns because several riders had to abort runs halfway through the course due to the abrupt cross/tail-wind that started pushing them off course.

The wind had turned in my favor when I approached the starting line, but I was ready to abort my run if things didn’t feel right. When I received the go-ahead from the starter, I slowly rolled the throttle through first, second and third gear, finally locking the throttle by fourth gear with the Michelin EVO tire hooking up in 4th. It wasn’t until the top of 6th gear that I realized that I was turning 200 more rpm going through the traps from previous passes and I knew it was going to be a good run. The wings did the trick as they redirected the air over me and produced the fastest trap speed ever in a standing mile for a Kawasaki H2/H2R.

When I pulled up to the ticket booth the man looked at me and shook his head and gave me three copies of record-breaking tickets that read 205 mph at the half-mile mark and, unbelievably, 229.1 mph at the mile!

This was the day I had longed for since 2015 when I first started this project, and it was cool to see all of the fans were staring at me giving me thumbs up as I returned to my trailer to celebrate with my crew.

A world record for Gadson at the Texas Mile!

A world record for Gadson at the Texas Mile.

Special thanks to John Paul Faircloth (owner), Pierre Labuschagne, Eric Conner, Gary and Barry Purnell (crew), my wife Kiana and finally Coby Adams.

Related Reading

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

More by Kevin Duke

Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments